Why We Work: Understanding Work through the Prism of Art and Culture
Why do we work? What does work mean to the average person? These questions are not as straightforward as they appear. We work for the bulk of our lives and most of our days are spent with co-workers who are neither family nor childhood friends, but we often fail to realize how self-defining work really is. This speaks to work’s centrality but also to its invisibility in reflective discourse. Through “popular” representations of work, however, (such as in story-telling, cave paintings, hieroglyphs, music, writing, painting, television, film, video games, etc.,) we can begin to better understand the meaning of work and how this has changed over time. Readings in anthropology and employment relations plus film and art criticism will help us explore these questions from an interdisciplinary perspective; assignments will encourage students to reflect on their own experience of work. Developing strong analytical and communication skills is an important goal of the course.
Instructor: R. Gomez, Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions
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